Holiday Shopping Kicks Off In Florida

target shoppersThanksgiving, Thursday evening, 2016 - What I Saw;

Consumers were shopping briskly at two retailers I visited, Best Buy and Target.   The evening really began earlier in the day as consumers began lining up outside the stores to get their hands on the "door buster" specials.  

Lines outside the stores were not too severe, and store personnel opined that they were smaller than last year.  Target had mostly women on the line, while the Best Buy line was almost 100% male.  Both lines were comprised of younger people I estimated to be of ages 18 to 34.

By 7pm holiday shopping was getting fully underway as mall parking lots filled and customers began parking in the remote areas and on the grass.target holiday

Both stores had more than ample staff on the floor - the Super Target had at least one person per aisle, while Best Buy, a much smaller store, had staff members on every endcap and then some.  I queried some of the staff in both stores and found them all trained and knowledgeable about their assigned aisle.  Staff in Best Buy were busy restocking floor displays as needed.  

Walking behind the registers at Target I saw a wide variety of transaction amounts.  At any moment there were plenty of transactions at $10 to $15 and then a number at $300 to $400 or more. 

 The hot item in both stores was the Minecraft Xbox, with Target selling out rather quickly  - but the number that actually went out the door seemed rather modest, so perhaps they were saving inventory for today.   Best Buy had a much greater number of Xboxes on the floor and moving.  The Minecraft version with 500 GB was $250, and the more expensive one terabyte version at $300 was also selling well.
 
Besides the Xbox the most popular item were 4K televisions, I also saw a couple Samsung Robo vacuums being sold.

Sales at Best Buy seemed to have a much higher average ticket, and computers were also popular.   

Lines in Best Buy to pay for merchandise at the cash register were wrapping the entire length of the store.  A number of consumers seemed to be also buying on credit or layaway.
 
Managers at Best Buy, who with earphones and headsets were plugged into live data, said that sales numbers were looking pretty good at all Best Buy stores in the area, doing better than last year.
 
Consumers seemed will behaved, and perhaps a little tired. By 9pm the volume and intensity was diminishing and I got the sense of consumers are going home to rest up.
 
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